Ofsted inspections set for radical changes


Ofsted’s Chief Inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, has set out proposals for a radical reform of education inspection, designed to maintain and accelerate improved standards in England.

Sir Michael said schools rated good will be inspected at least every three years, rather than up to seven at present. But no-warning inspections would not become the norm, as proposed after the Trojan Horse scandal.

The Ofsted chief said he was determined to challenge mediocre schools.

He said: "'The time has come to introduce frequent but shorter inspections for good schools and further education and skills providers. These inspections will be different to what has gone before. They will have a much clearer focus on ensuring that good standards have been maintained.

"In particular, inspectors will be looking to see that headteachers and leadership teams have identified key areas of concern and have the capability to address them.

"For good schools and further education and skills providers who have the capacity to show this, the changes being proposed will mean that there is no longer any need for a full inspection.

"At the moment, it can be five years or even more between inspections for a good school or provider. This is too long."

Sir Michael confirmed that Ofsted will retain the power to undertake a full inspection at any time where there are significant concerns about standards.

Another key proposal due to take effect from next September is the introduction of a new common inspection framework, which will standardise the approach to Ofsted education inspections. This will be adapted to suit nurseries, schools and colleges, including the independent schools that Ofsted inspects, making it easier for parents, employers, pupils and learners to compare different providers and make more informed choices.

Brian Lightman, leader of the Association of School and College Leaders, warned there was still too much variability in validity and reliability of judgements and that Ofsted still has some way to go to restoring heads' trust in the reliability of inspection.

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